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Google search adds ‘vibes’, ‘immersive views’ for certain locations


Google is launching a new “vibe” feature that allows users to view activities, weather, and features for a particular location on a particular day.

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Google now claims to have enough local data to predict neighborhood “moods” in search results.

The company is rolling out “immersive views” and “moods” for select locations, adding more detail in visual form so users can explore locations before they visit, Google said at its third annual Search On event on Wednesday.

The latest updates come as the company tries to entice users to spend more time on its search results pages, rather than jumping to other sites. It’s part of how Google is integrating map data more tightly by redesigning its search features to go beyond text and images. Advertising on the Search Network remains a top source of ad revenue for the company, which totaled $56.3 billion last quarter.

For city searches, the company announced on Wednesday that it is adding more search result options, including “pronunciation”, “history”, “beaches” and “culture”. Users can see visual stories and short videos of people who have visited, as well as tips on how to explore the city and what to do, the company announced Wednesday.

For “vibes,” Google executives said users will soon be able to zoom in on a neighborhood and a restaurant to “get a sense of what it might look like.” It also allows them to show data on what they can expect in terms of activity, based on Google’s crowd data for that business, and what the weather may be like on the day they expect to arrive.

“You can quickly tell if a neighborhood is artsy or has an exciting food scene so you can make an informed decision about how to spend your time,” executives said Wednesday.

The features combine artificial intelligence with local data from Google Maps users who add more than 20 million “contributions” including reviews, photos and videos, the company said. It will be rolling out globally on Android and iOS in the coming months.

Google has also launched real-world aerial views of global landmarks. For starters, it will have “photorealistic” aerial views of 250 landmarks and will launch in Los Angeles, London, New York, San Francisco and Tokyo in the coming months, the executives said. The “immersive view” will be able to combine aerial views with data on weather, traffic and crowds.

Photorealistic imagery is “a huge” step forward for the company’s mapping product, said Chris Phillips, who leads the Google Maps business unit known internally as “Geo”.

Executives didn’t say if or how it will display ads in the new features.

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